One of the aspects of the formation program of a seminarian is the spiritual formation. Spiritual life must be understood “as a relationship and communion with God. (John Paul II)” “The spiritual training…should be imparted in such a way that the students might learn to live in an intimate and unceasing union with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.”
Christ calls us his friends. This friendship has a characteristic of a true search. A priest must have an unquenchable thirst for God. Having found the Truth, we must still continue to make our relationship with God go deeper. There is triple path for this encounter:
Meditation on the Word of God. The Second Vatican Council teaches that the priests should immerse themselves in the Scriptures by constant sacred reading and diligent study. This is important so that they will not become empty preachers of the Word of God to others, not being a hearer of the Word in his own heart. The fruit of lectio divina is prayer. Through the Word of God, the priests are brought towards a greater intimacy with God for above all, a priest is a man of God.
Participation in the Sacred Mysteries. A seminarian is a future priest of God. Thus, it is necessary that he will be trained with authentic liturgical education, leading to the full, active and conscious participation to the Sacred Mysteries he is one day will be ministering to the faithful. In every seminary of our Institute, our seminarians participate daily in the Eucharistic celebration, where they identify themselves with the same sacrificed Christ. Part of the spiritual life of the future priest is the daily Holy Hour and recitation of the Holy Rosary, Angelus, etc.
Fraternal Charity. “The priest is a man of charity and is called to educate others according to Christ’s example and the new commandment of brotherly love. (Jn 15:12.) But this demands that he allow himself to be constantly trained by the Spirit in the charity of Christ.” (Blessed John Paul II) This charity of the priest springs forth from prayer and from the contemplation of the mystery of divine mercy. This charity consists in self-giving, found in the program of formation in poverty, obedience and chastity.
We want to form virtuous men, according to the doctrine of the great teachers of the spiritual life, especially Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and from the example of all the saints of all times that the Church proposes as examples of virtue for us to imitate.
One aspect of spiritual formation should be to acquire discipline of life, which goal is no other than to grasp the “style” of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in Him is no other than the attitudes that He has as the Son next to the Father. Discipline in our relationship to Him as disciples consists in considering Him as our “path” to the Father. The discipline is the fundamental attitude of the disciple. It is the submission to the rules of life in order that the truth may be incarnate in the life of the disciples. For us, the Truth is Christ and to be docile to the discipline means to let Him be our Lord.